If you toil away in a cubicle a majority of the day, like many of us here at 4LN, then you know how monotonous the light gray/beige walls and off-white desks become after a while. It’s important for morale and for sanity to decorate your pod with some cool, nerd-themed, gear. Here are a few tips for decorating your cubicle so the time spent in your pod is not just more bearable, but more fun.
Find Things That Represents Your Interests
On a corner of the shelf in my cubicle I have an assortment of things that represent my nerd interests as well as my familial ties (a picture of my wife and son). A majority of the items in my nerd shrine involve either Star Wars or Superheroes, with a dash of Indiana Jones and Futurama thrown in for good measure.
When you set out on your shrine-making adventure it’s important to define your interests, and once you determine that your interests are work-friendly (a must if you work for a company with human resources), it is time to go shopping. There are several websites out there that specialize in nerdery (my favorite being Thinkgeek), but you can also find your knick-knacks the old-fashioned way by going to brick-and-mortar stores or digging through your parents attic to find your old stuff they packed up there when you moved out. The only thing I specifically purchased for the shrine was my Bender action figure. The rest came from my collectables I had at home or were gifts.
Keep It Simple
Did you know that the average size of cubicle space has declined sharply over the past two decades? In 1994, the average office automaton had over 90 square feet with which to mold their Cubicle of Solitude, which was a veritable mansion to the measly 25 square feet we have nowadays.
This means cubicle space is limited so you need to use a certain level of “strategery” and tact. You don’t want to be the guy who’s cubicle looks like a Spencer’s vomited up the clearance aisle. Nobody likes that guy.
Most of us would not be able to fund our nerd-habits without a sustainable income, so leave some room on your desk to actually get some work done. There’s no need to have your nerd shrine take up your entire cubicle. I use about half of the shelf above my desk, and that’s plenty of space to show my interests while not warranting an appearance on Cubicle Hoarders. The only thing memorabilia that is actually on my desk is R2-D2 with a pile of cash, because that cracks me up for some reason.
The more unique or rare the item the higher probability of people being drawn into conversation with you (conversation is not as bad as it sounds, unless you work primarily with jerks – if that’s the case just keep your head down and your eyes open for a new place of employment). This can lead to a closer set of work friends with similar interests, instead of just being individual automatons. However, if you are not one for work friends or conversation you can always make sure your nerd shrine leans to the left of creepy.
Sentimentality is a Plus
Occasionally work sucks, we’ve all been there. Some days seem to drag on slower than an Exogorth (Space Slug) trying to catch the Millennium Falcon. Having something that reminds you of a special time will help you get through those days that warp time. For me it’s a little Batsignal my wife got me for my 25th birthday, and my favorite picture of her and my son. It definitely helps take the edge off when you take a minute to reminisce and remember there is a place outside of your fabric wall panels.
And so, your quest for the perfect nerd shrine begins. There will be tinkering – you will stumble, you will fall. But in time, you will have a shrine that can be a beacon of hope in a choppy sea of fabric panels. Browse Amazon and Thinkgeek. Pull down the boxes of childhood treasures. Find things that will make your life inside your pod something more than bearable. Good luck.